Tea Cooking! The best kind of cooking.

So, today I decided to try a new recipe from the book of tea infused cooking that I own. One of the ones that seemed pretty easy to do was Pu’erh infused grilled tofu with a Thai-style peanut sauce that was also Pu’erh infused. I’ve been on a BIG Peanut Noodle kick recently and am not the world’s greatest cook either so I figured that this was the recipe for me.

For the record, the recipe didn’t specify what kind of Pu’erh to use so this is the one I chose because I have TONS of it. It’s one my mom brought back for me from her vacation in Vancouver. The shop owner had recommended it to her, and she got half a cake for me as a “sample” rather than a whole cake. Silly woman.

I’m not gonna write out the whole recipe because that would take forever, but suffice to say that it was pretty easy to follow along with. The grilled tofu was marinated first in a soy sauce and pu’erh mixture and the sauce used the left over marinade, peanut butter, hot sauce, lemon, honey and more steeped up pu’erh. The dish was then finished off with a fresh mint leaf garnish. It took like MAYBE half an hour to make? Tops.

Here’s a pretty picture of the finished dish: https://scontent-yyz1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/15094473_10208739152930131_3931681742653876829_n.jpg?oh=7ee279706bc60221250013cb6456286e&oe=588C8DDB

Sadly, I have to say that this isn’t the best tea infused dish I’ve ever made. The big issue for me wasn’t actually the flavour though, but the texture. I generally like tofu a fair bit; I mean as a vegetarian you sort of have to. I think it was something to do with the marinading process; but the texture of the tofu was just so gross. As I bit into it the pu’erh almost ‘disintegrated’ into these weird, tough rubbery strands that felt gross and were sort of tough to chew. Definitely not a great thing.

But that said; the tofu was also the only area of the dish where I felt like I could actually taste the pu’erh. I mean, it was a milder flavour than just drinking a straight up cup of pu’erh but the smoky elements of the tea, and earthiness came through. And of course lots of umami and saltyness from the soy.

The sauce was… interesting.

I think the reason it didn’t initially sit right with me if that it’s a lot more acidic tasting than the sauce I’m used to that comes with my regular, ‘Go To’ peanut noodles. That one has some kick to it from spices, but is mostly creamy and uses coconut milk too which is a nice contrast. This doesn’t have any sort of ‘cream’ element to it other than the peanut butter itself. What it DOES have is a lot of fresh lemon juice. So it’s oddly a bit sour, with a mild heat from the hot sauce and lots of salt from the soy. However once I adjusted to the differences I found it really nice. Couldn’t taste the Pu’erh though.

The recipe makes A LOT of sauce – more than any sane person would ever need to use for the dish itself. So, I have a TON extra. Looks like I’ll be adding peanut sauce to everything for days to use it up. I can’t stand food waste, so just tossing it out isn’t an option. Also; if I make this one again I’m skipping the mint. It looked beautiful on the dish, but the flavour didn’t compliment it at all. I ended up picking most of the mint off and just eating it straight instead; that was far tastier.

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My name is Kelly. I’m a twenty something tea drinker and reviewer originally from the prairies, but recently relocated to Quebec. I was introduced to DAVIDsTEA and started drinking tea fairly casually about six years ago. At some point, that casual hobby became an ingrained part of my daily life; I became a part of a greater community, incorporated tea into my daily routine, and it became my career.

You know you’ve got it bad when you get your hobby tattooed to your arm.

I’m a TAC certified Tea Sommelier!

I drink a balance of flavoured tea and straight/traditional teas – in all formats. I prefer to have a wide, and general knowledge over many types of teas and catagories rather than focus on any one specific tea: a jack of all teas, master of none. Loose, bagged, matcha, Western style, iced, latted, Gong Fu…

You name it, I probably drink it.

In that vein, I’ll drink just about any type of tea – those only ones I have a particularly strong distaste for are green teas and Chai, with some exceptions of course. I have a weird relationship with Sheng pu’erh, but have been gradually increasing the amount of it I consume – currently I have a particular fascination with Yiwu Sheng. Other types of tea that I greatly enjoy are Yancha and other dark, heavily oxidized or roasted oolongs, most shou, black tea, and compressed/aged white teas. I’ll absolutely try anything once though; and I like to have an open mind and explore lots of tea types, even if I have reservations. I’ll probably never leave that “Exploratory” phase…

Usually I drink my tea straight, but I’m not opposed to additions if I’m in the right mood. If I ever add something to a tea, I will ALWAYS call it out in the tasting note though. If I’ve not mentioned an addition, you’re safe to assume it’s been prepared straight up.

I like to listen to music when drinking tea, especially when I’m brewing a large pot at a time or steeping Gong Fu. Often I curate very intentional tea and music pairings, and sometimes I share them here in my tasting reviews. Music is something that I find can deeply affect the experience of having tea.

Favourite flavour notes/ingredients: Pear, lychee, cranberry, cream, melon, pineapple, malt, roasty, petrichor, sweet potato, heady florals like rose, walnut, sesame, honey (in moderation), and very woody shou.

Least favourite flavour notes/ingredients:
Lemongrass, ginger, strong Chai spice profiles, mushrooms, seaweed, chamomile, artificial tasting mango or peach, stevia, saltiness, or anything that reminds me too much of meat that isn’t supposed to taste like meat…

Currently exploring/obsessed with: Sheng from Yiwu, Yancha (Qilan in particular), anything with a strong sweet potato note. Also, I need to try ALL the root beer teas! Searching for a really good caramel flavoured blend, ideally with a black tea base.

Tea Pet Reference Guide:

Clay Pixiu Dragons: Zak & Wheezie
Clay Goldfish: Dot
Clay Monkey: Enzo
Jade Pixiu Dragon: Whitaker
Ruyao Carp: Splashy
Ruyao Dragon: Pablo
Ruyao Frog: Bebe
Sculpted Pig: Nelly
Sculpted Tuxedo Cat: Pekoe
Sculpted Tabby Cat: Marmalade
Ceramic Rabbit: Rupert
Ceramic Horse: Bergamot
Ceramic Snail: Snicket
Ceramic Cat: Saffron
Wood Fired Old Man: Leopold

Currently I’m employed in the tea department of the DAVIDsTEA head office. While I’m still sharing my own personal thoughts on new & existing DAVIDsTEA blends, I am no longer numerically rating them due to the obvious conflict of interest. Any comments expressed are a reflection of my own thoughts and opinions, and do not reflect the thoughts and opinions of the company. Any DAVIDsTEA blends you currently see with a numeric score were reviewed prior to my being hired there and have not been adjusted since becoming a DAVIDsTEA employee.


Montreal, QC, CA



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